Board of Directors

Waste-Free Advocates is run by an elected Board of Directors comprised of solid waste professionals, policy activists, local business owners, and dedicated volunteers who are passionate about creating a zero-waste Oregon.

Brittney Wendell (President): Brittney is currently the Associate Director of the Pollution Prevention Resource Center where she oversees the statewide EcoBiz Certification program and enjoys working closely with local businesses and municipalities, Oregon DEQ, and EPA to reduce pollution and waste at its source. In her early career, she banded raptors and conducted several seasons of bird surveys. She is still an avid bird nerd today.  

Tara Knierim (Vice President): brings over 10 years of experience as a policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Labor, and well as experience as a green entrepreneur, to her position of Vice-President for WFA. Passionate about environmental issues and frustrated by the current state of waste and recycling in this country, Tara is particularly excited about the prospect of further partnering with other organizations to Waste-Free Advocate’s mission. 

Haley Robinson (Treasurer): Haley has worked in Commercial Banking for the last 5 years and has served as the WFA Board Treasurer since October 2020. Haley first became passionate about environmental conservation and sustainability through her love of the outdoors, hiking and camping any chance she gets. She loves sharing her knowledge and tips about zero waste living with her friends and family.

Jessica Zahn (Secretary): Jessica has spent the last fifteen years in communications and sustainability across the energy efficiency, retail, education, and non-profit sectors. She is a certified Master Recycler and has been a board member with WFA since 2020. Jessica is passionate about food systems, creative reuse, and equitable access to waste systems.

Michael Freudenthal: Michael brings decades of experience in food safety, EHS, and supply chain management to his position on the board at WFA. He believe’s WFA’s commitment to environmentally sustainable work is critical to our community and serving on the board is an opportunity to further his decades-long focus on environmental issues.

Alaina Labak: Alaina is a parent of two, certified Master Recycler (class 64), Eco-Schools Network parent, and has been on the Waste-Free Advocates board since 2019. She loves to discover, refine and share systems to reduce waste, help others overcome barriers to waste reduction, share ideas to prevent food waste and nurture our growing economy of zero-waste businesses. She brings to the board her 15 year experience working with local grocer New Seasons Market.

Mikey Strauhal: Mikey is currently the Environmental Outreach Specialist for the Pollution Prevention Resource Center where he helps businesses with waste reduction, toxic chemical alternatives, secondary containment, and pollution prevention technical assistance. He also extensive experience in managing recycling crews and waste management systems for festivals such Lightning in a Bottle, the Oregon County Fair, and Envision Music Festival.

Mandy Hurley: Mandy has lived in Portland for over 20 years, spending most of those years working with youth and families in East Portland. She currently owns and operates Simple Sundries, a local store that is reusing & refilling plastic & glass for a waste free community and a circular economy. She also loves baseball, disc golf, and creative, hilarious people with too much time on their hands.

Staff

Grant Simmons (Resource Director): Grant was hired as our new Resource Director in November 2021 and has been hard at work on WFA’s rebrand, communications, website, and more. He comes to Portland from Santa Cruz, CA where he most recently was the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries and a Climate Policy Intern for the City of Santa Cruz. Feel free to email him at director@wastefreeadvocates.org if you have any questions or want to say hi!